DALLAS — It was a dramatic, unified move by Democrats in the Texas House: a walkout that effectively killed Senate Bill 7, the controversial election bill.
State Rep. Chris Turner said Democrats will remain united in their opposition to what they call “vote suppression” bills when lawmakers return to Austin for an expected special session later this summer.
“Democrats are going to continue to tell the truth about these bills, which is that they’re a solution in search of a problem,” the Democrat said on Inside Texas Politics. “They would make it harder for Texans to vote, particularly Texans of color. And they’re an attempt for Republicans to try to artificially hang onto and preserve power.”
The Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, Turner said he’s not taking any possibility off the table for Democrats to use in an effort to defeat the bill during a special session. While the walkout certainly garnered most of the headlines, he said Democrats fought against the election bills all session long and they’ll likely use similar tactics during a special session.
“Our members fought valiantly throughout legislative hearings and stretching them into the night and in some cases over the course of a couple of weeks," said Turner.
He said in the House and Senate, legislators used a variety of tactics, including extended debate, parliamentary maneuvers, amendments and speaking against the bill.
"All of that culminated in the eventual defeat of SB 7 on the second to the last day of the session,” he said.
Texas Democrats recently announced a goal of registering two million voters by 2022 in another effort to turn the state blue. Rep. Turner said it’s important - and possible - because people continue to move to Texas at a blistering pace and every day, a newly eligible voter turns 18.
He said even those who may have had a chance to participate in 2020 but chose to sit on the sidelines could get into the game because of what happened during the legislative session that just ended.
“When they see that Republicans have passed laws to allow for permitless carry and tried to pass laws to suppress the vote in Texas while neglecting to address healthcare in a meaningful way, by not passing Medicaid expansion while neglecting to pass common sense gun safety, I think that more and more people are going to want to engage in the process to elect new leaders in Texas,” he said.